Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Two former Wells Fargo employees have filed a lawsuit against the bank related to the unauthorized accounts scandal that has engulfed the institution in controversy. The plaintiffs are seeking class-action status for the lawsuit.
The suit, filed on Sept. 22 in California Superior Court by former employees Alexander Polonsky and Brian Zaghi, seeks to represent employees or former employees who worked for the bank during the last 10 years and who, the suit alleges, were “either demoted, forced to resign, or terminated,” for not meeting “impossible” quotas the bank set as goals for employees to open accounts on behalf of customers.
The lawsuit, which is seeking at least $2.6 billion in damages, notes that Wells Fargo is incorporated in Delaware, but its principal place of business is San Francisco.
The two plaintiffs say they did not engage in any of the alleged misconduct -- referred to as “gaming” in the suit -- and were thus unable to achieve “impossible” quotas and in turn were “counseled, demoted and later terminated,” the suit alleges.
“In order to be able to perpetrate their fraudulent scam, Wells Fargo fired employees who did not meet their impossible quotas,” the suit said.
The suit alleges that the bank set a sales goals for employees that expected them to open 10 accounts per day and work to ensure that every existing customer had eight accounts to their name.
The quotas, or sales goals, at the heart of the suit, have been central to the scandal that has rocked the bank since it was revealed on Sept. 8.
Here's a timeline of the Wells Fargo Accounts Scandal.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, one of a handful of regulators that fined the bank a combined $185 million on Sept. 8, said at the time that the bank implemented the goals because it “sought to distinguish itself in the marketplace as a leader in 'cross-selling' banking products and services to its existing customers.”
In turn, according to the Los Angeles City Attorney, another regulator that imposed part of the fine, employees were opening and funding accounts on customers’ behalf without their knowledge or consent, in order to "satisfy sales goals and earn financial rewards under the bank's incentive-compensation program."
Since then, the bank has promised to end the sales goals program, saying on Sept. 13 that the program would cease to exist effective Jan. 1, 2017.
The lawsuit filed by the former employees alleges that “Wells Fargo’s fraudulent scam which was set at the top and directed toward the bottom was to squeeze employees to the breaking point so they would cheat customers so that the CEO could drive up the value of Wells Fargo stock and put hundreds of millions of dollars in his own pocket.”
“Wells Fargo could then place the blame on thousands of $12 an hour employees who were just trying to meet cross-sell quotas that made the CEO rich,” the suit alleges.
The lawsuit filed by the former employees follows one filed on Sept. 19 by three customers who say they were affected by the alleged misconduct.
It also comes just days before Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf is expected to testify in front of the House Financial Services Committee on Thursday.
At a Senate hearing on Sept. 20, Stumpf faced blistering comments from both sides of the aisle, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., saying Stumpf "should resign" and face a criminal probe.
“You should give back the money that you gained while this scam was going on, and you should be criminally investigated by the [Department of Justice] and the [Securities and Exchange Commission]," Warren said during the tense Sept. 20 hearing.
Wells Fargo declined to comment Monday this latest lawsuit.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Wall Street closed lower Monday as investors awaited the first presidential debate.
The Dow dropped 166.62 (-0.91 percent) to finish at 18,094.83.
The Nasdaq lost 48.26 (-0.91 percent) to close at 5,257.49, while the S&P 500 finished at 2,146.10, down 18.59 (-0.86 percent) from its open.
Crude oil climbed over 2 percent with prices hitting above $45 a barrel.
Presidential Debate: Investors fretted over poll numbers Monday before the first presidential debate as some polls showed Donald Trump gaining on Hillary Clinton. Tuesday morning's open could reflect the results of the candidates' performances at the debate.
Winners and Losers: Shares in Twitter Inc soared 3 percent after reports the social media site was exploring potential sale bids.
After “extensive evaluation,” Pfizer Inc. announced it would not split up into two entities, leading shares to sink nearly 2 percent.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., asked the Securities and Exchange Commission Monday to open an investigation into whether Yahoo “fulfilled its obligations under federal securities laws to keep the public and investors informed,” about a massive security breach revealed last week.
The company revealed that a “state-sponsored actor” stole data associated with some 500 million accounts from its servers in late-2014.
Warner, a former technology executive, is a member of the Senate Intelligence and Banking Committees and co-founder of the bipartisan Senate Cybersecurity Caucus.
Russian hackers are suspected to be behind the attack, sources familiar with the matter recently told ABC News. Yahoo has not commented on that detail.
Verizon announced on July 25 that it would buy the tech company for $4.83 billion. Verizon said about 20 minutes after Yahoo announced the security breach on Sept. 22 that it had only learned about the breach "within the last two days."
Meanwhile, shortly after the breach announcement, a source familiar with the matter told ABC News that Yahoo only became aware of the data breach in July, after news reports of a hacker attempting to sell some 280 million accounts on the dark web.
According to the source, the company "found no evidence to substantiate the hacker’s claims," but when an internal security team broadened the scope of its investigation, “they identified evidence of the theft by a state-sponsored actor occurred in 2014.”
Late on Friday, The Wall Street Journal, citing an unnamed source, reported that Yahoo "detected hackers in their systems in fall 2014 who they believed were linked to Russia and were seeking data on 30 to 40 specific users of the company’s online services."
The Journal reported that the person being cited did not "know whether that attack led to the theft of information on 500 million user accounts."
The timing of the attack and its disclosure has raised questions about whether Yahoo has violated securities laws, which require publicly-traded companies to disclose information that has the potential to sway markets.
“Press reports indicate Yahoo’s CEO, Marissa Mayer, knew of the breach as early as July of this year,” Sen. Warner said in a letter to SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White. “Despite the historic scale of the breach, however, the company failed to file a Form 8-K disclosing the breach to the public.”
Yahoo filed a Form 8-K hours after it announced the data breach on the afternoon of Sept. 22.
Notably, a filing submitted to the SEC by Yahoo on Sept. 9, a copy of which was reviewed by ABC News, stated: “To the Knowledge of Seller, there have not been any incidents of, or third party claims alleging, (i) Security Breaches, unauthorized access or unauthorized use of any of Seller’s or the Business Subsidiaries’ information technology systems or (ii) loss, theft, unauthorized access or acquisition, modification, disclosure, corruption, or other misuse of any Personal Data in Seller’s or the Business Subsidiaries’ possession ... that could reasonably be expected to have a Business Material Adverse Effect.”
At market open on Monday, Yahoo’s stock had lost about 3.75 percent of its value since its opening on Sept. 22 -- the day the hack was announced.
“Yahoo’s September filing asserting lack of knowledge of security incidents involving its IT systems creates serious concerns about truthfulness in representations to the public,” Warner said in the letter, dated Monday. “The public ought to know what senior executives at Yahoo knew of the breach, and when they knew it.”
Yahoo did not immediately respond to ABC News' request seeking comment on Warner’s request to the SEC.
Verizon declined to comment to ABC News on the matter.
The SEC declined comment and would not confirm or deny whether there is an investigation.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Traffic. It costs hours of your life and does the environment no favors. But what if all the time you spent sitting in traffic actually generated electricity?
California is hoping to turn that frustration into actual power. The state's energy commission is planning to invest $2 million in a study of piezoelectric crystals, which, when squeezed, produce small amounts of power.
The idea is that maybe one day if enough of those crystals are placed in the asphalt, the pressure of the cars sitting on top of them will generate usable amounts of electricity.
Carl Court/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Soon you'll be able to share your memories on Snapchat from your point of view.
The creators behind the social media network are releasing high-tech sunglasses integrated with a video camera that will allow users to record 10-second video clips with just the push of a button.
Called Spectacles, the company says the glasses will be "capable of taking a day’s worth of Snaps on a single charge." The wearable tech will "connect directly to Snapchat via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and transfer your Memories directly into the app."
The glasses will be offered in three different colors and, according to the Wall Street Journal, will be available later this fall for about $130.
Meanwhile, in other Snapchat news, the company announced on Saturday that it will be changing it's name now that it is working on other products, like Spectacles.
"When we were just getting started it made sense to name our company Snapchat Inc., because Snapchat was our only product! Now that we are developing other products, like Spectacles, we need a name that goes beyond just one product – but doesn’t lose the familiarity and fun of our team and brand," the company's co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel explained in a blog post.
"We decided to drop the 'chat' and go with Snap Inc!" he said.
ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Doritos has teamed up with Rock the Vote in an effort to boost voter registration among America's youth.
The partnership has spawned an interactive vending machine at college campuses that asks students whether or not they are registered to vote. If they answer no, rather than receiving one of two flavors of Doritos chips, they get a bag with a special flavor.
The "No Choice" bags have no taste or chips -- just pieces of Doritos-shaped cardboard -- to show the students that if you don't vote, you don't get a choice because someone else will be choosing for you instead.
The students can then use the vending machines to help them register to vote.
Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Could flying across the pond be cheaper than taking a flight to Los Angeles?
Sometimes, according to FareCompare CEO Rick Seaney. He says, "A look at round-trip fall fares for Nov. 26 to Dec. 1 from New York finds a flight to London costing only $299.15 compared to the price of a flight to Los Angeles at $445.00."
"Both deals were found on FareCompare on Sept. 22, but can be seen elsewhere, too," Seaney notes.
The reasons behind the deals are partially due to oil prices and demand.
"Oil prices remain low, and so is demand now that the big summer season is over," Seaney says.
"Plus, there are more discount carriers serving trans-Atlantic routes, including Portugal’s Tap, Iceland’s Wow Air and Norwegian Shuttle," he adds. "In order to compete, many big U.S. carriers are also serving up dazzling deals this fall."
If you're planning to take to the skies this fall, here's what Seaney says you should know about finding deals to Europe:
1. Act fast
As always, airlines are constantly tinkering with fares based on what the competition is doing and on the ebb and flow of demand, and there’s no guarantee any one fare will stay at that level for long. If you see a fare you love, do not delay: buy it. It probably won’t last long.
2. Don’t fly too late
The fall season itself won’t last forever. The date to keep in mind is Dec. 19. That’s the last day to depart on a flight to Europe because beginning Dec. 20, we will see an average price increase of about 20 percent, and fares will stay there through the holidays and beyond. Wait too long and you will miss out.
3. Always compare fares
This is true for any and every flight you book. If you don’t compare fares, you could end up paying too much. Any airline would be thrilled if you had the kind of blind loyalty that sent you to their site and theirs alone because then you’d pay whatever they asked. Be smart. See what everyone else is charging before you ding your credit card.
4. Look for cheap cities
Despite the great New York to London fare quoted earlier, the U.K. isn’t usually the cheapest place in Europe. Here are some recent round-trip fares to cheaper destinations with most good for travel in October and November.
- Boston to Stockholm, $375 - Chicago to Rome, $567 - Los Angeles to Oslo, $473 - New York to Dublin, $490 - New York to Paris, $499
5. Holiday travels, holiday gifts
Consider making a gift of travel as a holiday present, but talk to the recipient in advance so there aren’t any surprises like, “I can’t fly that day,” as the best deals are usually nonrefundable. Or consider traveling to Europe to celebrate a holiday. Check out this comparison for recently-found Thanksgiving fares.
- Boston to Shannon, Ireland: $432 - Boston to Portland, Maine: $603
The fun part about this of course is that you pay more for a New England flight of about 100 miles than for a 2,800-mile trip to Europe.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Yahoo announced on Thursday that it believes information associated with at least 500 million user accounts was stolen by a "state-sponsored actor" at the end of 2014.
Cyber security experts believe that this was the largest-known breach of user accounts. Russian hackers are suspected as being behind the breach.
More users were reportedly impacted in this one incident than all of last year, according to the 2016 Internet Security Threat Report produced by security company Symantec.
Since the announcement of the breach, two lawsuits have been filed against the company, both in California, alleging that it was negligent in securing users’ personal information. What was taken?
The stolen information could include names, email addresses, dates of birth, telephone numbers, password information and possibly the question-answer combinations for security questions, which are often used to reset passwords, said Yahoo in a statement.
However, Yahoo said that the passwords that were compromised were hashed, a way of encrypting data.
The stolen information did not include unprotected passwords, payment card data or bank account information, according to Yahoo.
"Unfortunately there is information being stolen everyday and this is not a unique event, but it's adding to the long list of compromises that have been out there,” said Jeff Greene, director of government affairs for North America at Symantec.
What are the risks?
Hackers may attempt to log directly into a Yahoo account, but they could also use the information to try to get into someone’s other accounts, according security experts.
“If your primary email address is compromised, so much of you the rest of your digital life flows from that,” said Morgan Reed, executive director of ACT, which represents app and tech companies.
When it comes to stolen passwords, the "good news" is that the passwords were encrypted, said Reed.
The bad news is that the one entity that has the resources to break encryption is a state actor, he added.
Criminals can also come out of the woodwork to use this as an opportunity to take advantage of consumers, said Greene. People may receive bogus emails to reset accounts and click on links.
"It's like after a storm, there will be all these fake requests for money," said Greene.
There is also a future risk. The data may be stored and used for an attack down the road. The hackers themselves may not even know the potential of the information yet.
"There's the short game, the immediate compromise, and there's the long game," he said. What can you do?
Change your password. Yahoo recommends "that users who haven't changed their passwords since 2014 do so," the company said in its statement. Cyber security experts say this is the necessary first step.
Security experts also recommend signing up for "two-factor authentication," make sure passwords are complex and unique, and make all software is up-to-date and patched.
Use different passwords on different accounts, according to cyber experts that spoke with ABC News.
“Far too many Americans use the same password for different services,” said Reed.
However, a new Consumer Reports report, which compiled 66 expert tips, found that it's better to keep the same password and be "password loyal," unless there is a breach.
Be aware of unusual activity. Look for unusual friend requests, requests to reset a password and anything out of the ordinary.
"If you do all of these things, you are going to stop the vast majority of the attacks,” said Greene.
ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Listen up, potential "Shark Tank" contestants: The investors have some tips on what it takes to be successful in business.
Chris Sacca, Robert Herjavec, Kevin O'Leary, Lori Greiner, Barbara Corcoran, and Mark Cuban spoke to ABC News about what traits a good entrepreneur must have.
A few common themes? It's important to be persistent and hard-working.
"You're going to have to spend 110 percent of your time focusing on your business," O'Leary said. "So I tell everybody that comes in here, regardless of whether they've got a big or small business, 'Are you ready to sacrifice? Are you ready to do what it takes? Because if you don't want to do it, there's somebody else who's ready to kick your heinie and run you right over.'"
Cuban, who added, "I work my a-- off," added that preparation is key. To make sure he understands every facet of his businesses, as well as what's around the corner, the investor said that he reads hours every single day.
"I'm competitive," he said. "To me, business is the ultimate sport and I want to stay ahead of everybody else!"
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Wall Street closed lower on Friday with stocks dragged down by energy shares. Stocks did end the week higher though, kept lifted from Wednesday's decision by the Federal Reserve to keep short-term interest rates unchanged.
The Dow dropped 131.01 (-0.71 percent) to finish at 18,261.45.
The Nasdaq lost 33.78 (-0.63 percent) to close at 5,305.75, while the S&P 500 finished at 2,164.69, down 12.49 (-0.57 percent) from its open.
Crude oil fell more than 1 percent with prices hitting almost $45 a barrel.
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In a letter shared with ABC News, six senators have slammed Wells Fargo bank for its use of forced arbitration clauses in its customer account agreements, which the senators say enabled the company to keep its accounts scandal out of the public eye and the courts for years, and asked embattled CEO John Stumpf to provide information so that they can “better understand the situation at Wells Fargo” and "prevent similar fraudulent practices in the future."
Arbitration, mandated in some if not all basic agreements that customers sign when they open accounts at the bank, "helps hide fraudulent schemes such as the sham accounts at Wells Fargo from the justice system, from the news media, and from the public eye," the senators wrote.
The senators also wrote, “These clauses eliminate consumers’ ability to bring a claim in open court or to band together in a class action, before any dispute has arisen. Forced arbitration clauses deny access to the courts even when consumers are seeking to enforce their rights under fundamental state and federal laws.”
"Arbitration proceedings are kept secret, so that other customers are deprived of the knowledge that their experiences might be part of a more widespread problem," according to the six senators.
The letter was written by Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Al Franken (D-MN), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
"It is particularly unacceptable that forced arbitration clauses in contracts for real customer accounts were used to deny customers access to the court system to challenge Wells Fargo’s creation of sham accounts," the group wrote. "We have serious concerns that your forced arbitration policies thrust consumers into a system with little transparency or oversight."
The letter is the latest in a series of headaches for the company, which faces allegations from regulators that employees opened or applied for accounts without customers' knowledge or permission.
On Thursday, a group of senators, some of whom also signed Friday’s letter, asked the Department of Labor to open an investigation into Wells Fargo's employment practices, and on Tuesday, Stumpf appeared before the Senate Banking Committee, facing blistering questions over the accounts scandal.
Separately on Thursday, Stumpf resigned from his position on the Federal Advisory Council, the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank told ABC News. The council generally meets with the Federal Reserve four times a year to advise it on banking and economic issues.
In a consent decree between the bank and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the bank has not admitted to or denied any wrongdoing.
Arbitration clauses are common in many contracts that consumers sign regularly, attorney David I. Greenberger, an employment law expert at the Bailey Duquette firm in New York City, told ABC News. In many cases, they can benefit consumers by allowing parties to settle disputes more quickly and cheaply than if they go through a sometimes long and drawn-out court battle.
Increasingly, however, concerns have grown that they can be used to keep details out of the public eye, since arbitration proceedings are typically not made public.
"The original purpose, from my view ... was that it would allow for a faster, more efficient and more expedient process for the parties to resolve their dispute,” Greenberger said.
"It has changed over time and I think you can now, in some forms, question whether it’s faster...or [more] expedient," Greenberger told ABC News. "It’s become a way in which disputes can be kept private and kept from being aggregated in the class context."
ABC News has reached out to Wells Fargo for comment, but did not immediately hear back.
Maltz Auctions(NEW YORK) -- Have you ever used the expression “keeping up with the Joneses” when trying to one-up someone fancy? Well, now you can learn who the real Joneses are thanks to a real estate auction.
The now dilapidated mansion that is believed to be the inspiration for the phrase just sold at auction for $120,000. It was built in the 1850s in Rhinebeck, New York, as a summer getaway for New York City socialite Elizabeth Schermerhorn Jones.
The 7,690-square-foot home, called Wyndclyffe Castle, was so elegant and over the top it prompted neighbors to build even bigger houses in an effort to “keep up with the Joneses.” It boasted nine bedrooms, five bathrooms and four fireplaces.
“When Elizabeth passed away in 1876, Wyndclyffe was sold to a family who maintained the house into the 1920s, but the succession of owners that occupied the mansion through the Great Depression struggled to keep up with the repairs it required,” a press release from Maltz Auctions, the auctioneers who sold the mansion, reads.
“The house remained a private residence until 1936, and was finally abandoned sometime after 1950. By the 1970s, the house had already been abandoned for decades. At this point, the property was purchased and subdivided, which pared down the grounds of the estate from 80 acres to 2.5 acres,” it adds.
Now that the property has been purchased again, the auctioneers hope it is “an opportunity for someone who loves a challenge to bring a historic property back to its former glory.”
ABC News(ATLANTIC CITY) — Atlantic City may be talked about more on the campaign trail than on reality shows. But, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have different narratives about Trump’s legacy on the boardwalk.
In a speech earlier this summer, Clinton used the backdrop of Trump’s failed casino, Trump Plaza, for a speech slamming the GOP nominee for "shameful" mismanagement.
And, in another speech in Detroit, she joked, "How can anybody lose money running a casino?"
After Trump Plaza opened in 1984, Trump eventually filed four business bankruptcies related to his casino holdings in Atlantic City. He filed for bankruptcy on the Taj Mahal in 1991, Trump Castle Associates in 1992, Trump Hotel Casino Resorts in 2004 and Trump Entertainment Resorts in 2009.
But Trump contended in previous debates that he never personally went bankrupt and tweeted, "I made a lot of money in Atlantic City and left 7 years ago, great timing (as all know). Pols made big mistakes, now many bankruptcies."
While the politicians dispute Trump’s impact on Atlantic City, ABC News asked locals and voters who were visiting the area for their views on both candidates.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(BETHESDA, Md.) — Marriott has just closed a deal to acquire Starwood Hotels & Resorts, creating the largest hotel company in the world.
Marriott announced the completion of the merger Friday in a statement that said the Starwood & Marriott loyalty programs would be linked, with the new company operating or franchising “more than 5,700 properties and 1.1 million rooms” across 30 brands in over 110 countries. For now, the Wall Street Journal reports, loyalty members of the two companies — 85 million in all — will be able to transfer points between the two programs, but three Marriott points will only match one Starwood point.
“Marriott will draw upon the very best each program offers and we can’t wait to show the loyal members of these programs the power and benefits of Marriott and Starwood coming together,” Stephanie Linnartz, Marriott Executive Vice President and Global Chief Commercial Officer, said.
The merger more than doubles Marriott’s distribution in Asia, the Middle East and Africa combined, the company said.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Wall Street extended gains for a third day Thursday as the Nasdaq rallied to hit a record high following Wednesday's decision by the Federal Reserve to keep short-term interest rates unchanged.
The Dow gained 98.76 ( 0.54 percent) to finish at 18,392.46.
The Nasdaq jumped 44.34 ( 0.84 percent) to close at 5,339.52, while the S&P 500 finished at 2,177.18, up 14.06 ( 0.65 percent) from its open.
Crude oil climbed nearly 2 percent with prices hitting above $46 a barrel.